Queen’s Cup History Part 1
The Queen’s Cup is the one of the oldest cups in world-yachting that is still offered for competition every year. The history of the cup dates back to an age when both British Victorian silverwork and English sailing yachts were without rival anywhere in the world.
American shipyards of this era were turning out very fast sailing vessels called Clipper ships. These craft were extreme designs built to out perform the fast new breed of ships powered by steam. The American racing sloop SILVIE was built during this era using this radical new technology.
On August 19, 1853, the American yacht SILVIE won second place in a regatta scheduled by the Royal Yacht Squadron that was raced off Cowes, England.
First prize, a cup valued at 100 guineas, (as was the initial America’s Cup) was won by the English yacht GAILY, followed within 6 minutes and 38 seconds by the American sloop SILVIE. This outstanding performance by SILVIE caused the Squadron to award a special prize to her, a 50- guinea cup, now known as the Queen’s Cup.
Actually, it is not really a Queen’s Cup, because only English yachts are allowed to win a cup offered by the Queen. Races in which foreign yachts competed were sailed either before or after those races in which English yachts competed.
The cup was brought back to the New York Yacht Club, SILVIE’s home port, and went into obscurity until 1874, when a Mr. J.H. Godwin, of Kingsbridge, NY gave the cup to his friend Kirkland C. Barker, Commodore of the International Yacht Club of Detroit. The cup was to be offered as an international challenge, to be known then as the Godwin Cup.
Did you know that the Queen’s Cup is actually nearly as old as the America’s Cup? The America’s Cup is the oldest international sporting trophy. The Cup, initially called the 100 Guinea Cup, was built in 1848 by Royal Jeweler Robert Garrard of London and it was then purchased by the first Marquis of Anglesey who presented it to the Royal Yacht Squadron as a racing trophy.
The trophy was originally awarded in 1851 by the Royal Yacht Squadron for a race around the Isle of Wight in England, which was won by the schooner America.
The trophy was renamed the America’s Cup after the yacht and was donated to the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) under the terms of the Deed of Gift, which made the cup available for perpetual international competition. The America’s Cup, the more famous of the two regattas, is not raced annually and has morphed into more of a professional and certainly controversial, event as the years have gone by and $100s of millions being spent by a single team have become the norm. The Queen’s Cup however has remained an annual Corinthian event. Read further for the first installment of the history of the Queen’s Cup.